TACOMA – Travelers who use southbound Interstate 5 past the Tacoma Mall will soon see changes to the highway as early as the morning of Saturday, Sept. 21.
If weather allows, Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor Skanska will open a new southbound I-5 auxiliary lane from South 38th Street to South 56th Street. The new lane will give South 38th Street travelers a dedicated lane to merge onto southbound I-5.
At the same time, crews will temporarily close the far left lane of southbound I-5 from South 38th Street to South 56th Street. This closure creates a median work zone allowing crews to construct two HOV sign structures, one of the final steps towards opening HOV connections between I-5 and SR 16. The left lane closure will be in place, around-the-clock, for approximately six weeks or until the work is finished.
During this work, southbound I-5 past the Tacoma Mall will have three general purpose lanes open, plus the new auxiliary lane. The collector/distributor ramp at South 56th Street will become a temporary through lane. Drivers can expect to see delays in this area during regular commute hours.
Once all lanes reopen, southbound I-5 past the Tacoma Mall will have a total of five travel lanes between South 38th Street and South 56th Street. On average, approximately 100,000 vehicles a day use southbound I-5 in this location.
This work is part of a project that builds connecting HOV lanes between I-5 and SR 16. Those HOV lanes are expected to open up this fall.